New Systems Address Overcrowding And Protect Parks

As record-setting numbers of people continue to find and explore our parks, some ― including Glacier, Rocky Mountain and Yosemite ― are working on solutions. Here’s what to know before you go.

of visitors have experienced overcrowding in a national park, according to an NPCA member survey

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People love national parks, and inspirational sites such as Arches, the Great Smoky Mountains and Yosemite have welcomed a steady increase in visitors over the years. At some of these especially popular parks, crowded conditions have led to problems and frustrations, including traffic jams, overflowing parking lots, packed and unsafe trails, and threats to wildlife and plants. Some people have even gotten turned away at entrance gates, creating negative and unpredictable experiences at the very places we turn to for solace, beauty and reflection.

Luckily, some of our most overwhelmed parks are exploring solutions, including reservation and timed-entry systems similar to what many museums, movie theaters and other venues have already put in place to ensure there is space for each guest. With a bit of advanced planning, visitors can have safer, less stressful experiences and see more of what makes these parks special.

of visitors have changed their plans to avoid busy times, according to an NPCA member survey

Park Planning Like a Pro

Know Before You Go

Visiting Acadia National Park

A vehicle reservation is required to drive to the top of Cadillac Mountain via the Cadillac Summit Road from May 25 – October 22, 2022.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Arches National Park

Arches has a timed-entry reservation system from April 3 to October 3, 2022

Know Before You Go

Visiting Glacier National Park

A Going-to-the-Sun Road Corridor Vehicle Reservation is required to access the corridor, from May 27 through September 11, 2022, from 6 am to 4 pm. Reservations will also be required during that time from 6am to 6pm to enter the North Fork area via the Polebridge Ranger Station.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Haleakalā National Park (Sunrise Reservations)

To preserve the sunrise solace that the park provides, reservations are required to visit between 3am – 7am, daily.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Muir Woods National Monument

In 2018, Muir Woods implemented a year-round reservation system for its parking spaces and seats on the park’s shuttle bus.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Rocky Mountain National Park

Timed entry reservations will be required to enter the park between May 27 and October 10, 2022

Know Before You Go

Visiting Shenandoah National Park (Old Rag Trail)

This year, the park is testing a new reservation system for the trail, to better protect the features that make it such a beloved adventure and to improve visitors’ safety and experience.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Yosemite National Park

A reservation will be required to drive into Yosemite National Park between 6am and 4pm from May 20 to September 30, 2022.

Know Before You Go

Visiting Zion National Park (Angel’s Landing Trail)

A timed entry reservation is required to hike the Angel’s Landing Trail, beginning April 1, 2022

Enhancing the Visitor Experience

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